Camp, Henry G.
Age: 20, credited to Pownal, VTVITALS
Birth: 12/27/1846, Pownal, VTADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Alias?: None notedDESCENDANTS
Village Cemetery, Bennington, VT
Check the cemetery for location/directions
and other veterans who may be buried there.
Of Return From
Henry G. Camp Had Remarkable
Experience in Civil War
Enlisted When 14 Years Old
Probably Youngest Vermont Veteran
Who Entered Service During
First Year of Great Struggle
Henry G. Camp, who resides with his sister, Mrs. John Harwood on Beech street and who is probably the youngest Vermont veteran who enlisted during the first year of the civil war, will next Monday, July 5, observe the 50th anniversary of his return.
Camp's experiences in the civil war were remarkable. He was twice wounded, recovered and re-enlisted, was taken prisoner and escaped only to be recaptured after a vain attempt to work his way back to the Federal lines. He saw the inside of no less than 13 different Confederate prisons, including Libby and Andersonville. His father and three brothers enlisted in Vermont regiments. One brother was killed, another lost an arm and the head of the family gave his life to the cause, being instantly killed at the battle of Winchester.
Born in Bennington December 27, 1846, the son of Jonathan Camp and Polly Townsend, he moved with his parents when a boy of six years to the adjoining town of Pownal, where he enlisted August 5, 1861, in company A of the Fourth Vermont Volunteers. At the time he entered the service he lacked more than four months of being 15 years of age. He had already attained his height of five feet and ten inches, a fact that enabled him to pass the surgical examination. His enlistment papers show that his frame was slight, as they give his weight to have been only 124 pounds. In speaking of his experiences, Camp says that outside of the actual fighting he never had such a good time in his life as in the army. Few men, in his belief, ever went into battle without a feeling of fear and dread of the results. The outdoor life of the service, the plain food and constant marching hardened and developed his frame so that at the time he was taken prisoner he had added over fifty pounds to his weight and was a seasoned soldier.
Camp was wounded on the day following the long battle of the Wilderness. He was a member of a detachment detailed to guard a large herd of beef cattle. The guard was attacked by confederates who poured a volley into the cattle protectors. Two of the bullets hit Camp, one passing through his left shoulder and the other through the hand on the same side. As soon as he was able to leave the hospital he was discharged and returned to his home in Pownal.
At the end of four months he had nearly recovered and then came the call from Gen. Grant for 300,000 more troops with which to finish the war. Pownal's quota was 38 men, and the town had already sent so many of its citizens to the front that the response was slow. At one of the recruiting meetings 25 men agreed to enlist provided Camp would be one to help fill the quota. His shoulder and hand were still stiff from the effects of his wounds and the examining surgeon said it would be the breaking of his oath to enlist a man in such a condition, but the necessity was so great that Camp's name was added to the muster roll and he went back to his original company. His second enlistment took place December 23, 1863.
During the first six months of 1864, Camp was with the army of the Potomac. On June 23 with 2100 federal soldiers he was made a prisoner while at work attempting to destroy the Weldon railroad six miles east of Petersburg. The federals, consisting of the entire Fourth Vermont Regiment, two battalions of the Eleventh Vermont, a few men from the Tenth Vermont and the Seventh New York, were surprised while their muskets were in stacks and there was nothing else for them to do but surrender.
The captured men were first taken to Richmond and placed in Libby prison. The building was so crowded that they were soon moved to Pemberton, then to Castle Thunder, next to Belle Isle, which was a stockade prison, and then to Lynchburg. It was at Bush Bridge, near Lynchburg, that Camp and another member of the same company, Myron Montgomery, who enlisted from Shaftsbury, attempted to escape and temporarily succeeded. Selecting an opportunity when the guards were not paying close attention to their charges, the two Vermonters made a break for the woods. They were fired upon as they ran and both the guards and prisoners believed that the two were killed by the volley. The Confederates made no attempt to follow the fleeing prisoners and the report found its way back to Camp's home that he had been killed while attempting to escape.
By traveling at night and hiding in the negro cabins during the day, Camp and his companion managed to avoid capture for a period of five days and were making good progress toward the Federal lines. Food was none to plentiful and Montgomery became ill. Realizing that the sick man must have medical attention they attempted to travel by daylight and on the first morning fell into the hands of a Confederate patrol of 15 men. The squad was in command of a young Virginia captain who had been wounded through the shoulder and had been detailed to patrol duty near his own home. To this home the captain, whose name was Simmons, took his prisoners who were given every attention by members of the family during the two days they remained at the plantation. Added to a large body of prisoners, who were being conveyed to the prisons in the two Carolinas and Georgia, they were first taken to Salisbury, N. C., but this prison was so crowded that they were carried on, after a two days stay, to Andersonville, Ga., where Montgomery died in the stockade.
Camp arrived at Andersonville late in July and remained in the prison till November 1864. With the approach of Gen. Sherman's army on its march to the sea, the Federals confined in the stockade were taken to other prisons and Camp was one of a lot of 10,000 who were marched from Savannah, Station No. 8, Station No. 16, Thomasville, Blackshire, Milan, Americus, Albany and back to Andersonville when the Confederates realized that the danger of the prisoners being released by Sherman's men had passed.
Camp arrived back in Andersonville in January, 1865 and remained in the prison until the close of the war. He was one of last to leave and with him were 500 men who were so ill that they were unable to walk. They were from April 21 to May 6 making the journey to Jacksonville, Fla., most of the men being carried in wagons. The weather was extremely warm and many of the men suffered intensely because of the heat. The released prisoners made their on the sand lots outside the city their first attention came from commissary department, in the of several wagon loads of whiskey. The barrels were rolled upon the ground; the heads were knocked and each man was served with a of the raw spirit. In the confusion, some of the men were given the second gill and among the number was Camp. It was the first liquor he ever drank, and he remembered nothing more until he awoke in the hospital at Jacksonville on a real bed with a clean white nightshirt between cool, white sheets and imagined that he had died and gone to heaven.
Release had come too late for many of the Andersonville survivors and the death rate at the Jacksonville hospital was appalling. The heat, to which the northerners were unaccustomed, added to their sufferings and as soon as arrangements could be made, they were placed on steamers and conveyed to government hospitals in cooler localities. Camp was in the hospital at Jacksonville and Annapolis nearly two months before the acquired sufficient strength to undertake the journey to Vermont.
When Camp and Montgomery made their break for liberty near Buch Bridge, Va., they completely erased themselves from the official records of the Federal army. Their own comrades believed that they had been killed by the guards. How the news of their escape reached their families in Vermont constitutes one of the many strange coincidences. The personal histories of men who went through the civil war. Capt. Simmons, who commanded the patrol which recaptured the two escaped prisoners, recovered from his wounds and rejoined his regiment, Later in the war, he too, became a prisoner, and was for time under guard of a squad commanded by Corporal Charles Camp, Henry' s older brother. Under the circumstances it was natural that in an interchange of experiences the federal corporal should learn that his brother was yet alive unless he had died in prison.
Dr. Enos Morgan of Pownal, who was the examining surgeon who passed Camp into the service, and Joseph H. Loring who conducted a trucking business in Bennington, went to Annapolis and brought the young veteran home. He was but the shadow of a man and out of curiosity he was taken directly from the train to Mr. Loring's office and placed upon the scales. He weighed 77 pounds. The last time he was weighed before he was made a prisoner he weighed 179.
Bennington Banner, April 28, 1924
TAPS FOR CIVIL
ENLISTED AT 14
Henry G. Camp Died on
Sunday at Vermont
IN REBEL PRISON
Survivor of Andersonville Stockade Outlived Original Members of Company
Henry G. Camp, who died at the Vermont soldiers' home here shortly after midnight Sunday morning, was perhaps the youngest living Vermont veteran who shouldered a musket during the first year of the civil war. He was also a survivor of the horrors of the Andersonville stockade. During the six months following the day on which he was captured together with more than two thousand Vermont troops, he saw the inside of 13 different Confederate prisons, was brought home on a stretcher weighing a hundred pounds less than on the day when he fell into the hands of the enemy, but recovered from his shocking experiences to outlive every original member of his company.
When he enlisted August 5, 1861, he lacked four months of being 15 years old. Papers issued by the examining surgeon gave his height at five feet and ten inches and his weight at 124 pounds. Army life must have agreed with him for he remembered that the last time he was weighed in the service he tipped the beam at 179.
Born in Bennington December 27, 1846, the son of Jonathan and Polly Townsend Camp, he moved with his parents when six years old to Pownal where he acquired the distinction of sitting at the feet of two young men who later became presidents of the United States, James A. Garfield and Chester A. Arthur. In the days preceding the civil war and in later years it was the custom of college students to partially meet their educational expenses by teaching in the district schools. The second martyred president and his successor, while attending Williams college, taught winter terms in a school maintained in the basement of the Pownal church burned about 15 years ago.
Enlisting in Company A of the Fourth Vermont volunteers he was with the regiment in all of the engagements in which it participated until the day following the battle of the Wilderness when a detail of Federal soldiers guarding a drove of beef cattle was surprised by Confederates. Two bullets out of the volley fired at the herdsmen passed through the young soldier's shoulder and hand. While completing his recovery at his home in Pownal General Grant issued his call for 300,000 men to help end the war and he re-enlisted, notwithstanding the wound in his shoulder had not entirely healed.
June 23, 1864, six months to a day from the date of his re-enlistment, he was captured with 2100 Vermont troops who were attempting to destroy the Weldon railroad at a point six miles from Petersburg, Va. There was no engagement. The Yankees had stacked their muskets and with picks and crowbars were tearing up the rails and ties when an outnumbering force of Confederates marched upon the scene. Taken first to Libby prison in Richmond, he was transferred to Pemberton, Castle Thunder, Belle Isle, Lynchburg and to Bush Bridge.
At the latter prison, a crudely constructed stockade he attempted to escape and partially succeeded. With a member of his company, Myron Montgomery, who enlisted from Shaftsbury, he made a dash for the woods. As the pair were disappearing in the underbrush, they were fired upon by guards who later reported that they had been forced to kill two prisoners. Ultimately this report reached Federal headquarters, was forwarded to the families in Vermont, and the two were given up as dead.
Hiding during the day and traveling at night, they were making good progress toward the Federal lines when the hardships of exposure and insufficient food proved too much for Montgomery. He became so ill that his companion was forced to seek medical assistance and both were recaptured, after having been at liberty five days.
When forced into the open by Montgomery's illness they fell into the hands of a young Confederate captain at home recovering from a slight wound and by whom they were hospitably entertained during the two days they were in his custody. Delivered at the Confederate headquarters, they were taken first to the prison at Salisbury, N.C., and later to Andersonville where Montgomery soon died.
The rugged young Vermonter underwent the privations of the Andersonville stockade from July until November, 1864, when, upon the approach of Sherman's army on its march to the sea, the inmates were moved to other prisons, at Savannah, Station No. 8, Station No. 16, Thompsonville, Blackshire, Milan, Americus and back to Andersonville where those who had survived arrived in January 1865, there to remain until the close of the war.
After the fall of Richmond, 500 of the prisoners at Andersonville were taken in wagons to Jacksonville, Fla. The heat was intense and many of the men died on the way. From Jacksonville, Camp was transferred to Annapolis, Md., and as soon as he was able to be moved from the government hospital he was sent home. At the railroad station here in Bennington he was met at the station by Dr. Enos Morgan of Pownal, who had physically examined the 14 year old boy when he was admitted to the service, and the late J. H. Loring. When they arrived at the Loring office on Depot street the emaciated wreck of a man was lifted from his stretcher and placed upon the scales that registered 77 1/2 pounds.
Before being notified from Washington that he had come out of Andersonville alive, the family in Pownal had already learned that he was not killed while running the guards at Bush Bridge prison. The young Confederate captain who had given the two "Yanks" food and shelter not long afterward became a Federal prisoner. At one time he was under guard of a squad commanded by Corporal Charles Camp, a brother, and as exchange of experiences revealed the fact that the reported killing of the escaping prisoners was incorrect.
"Hen" Camp, as he was familiarly known in Bennington, was perhaps the last survivor of the 101 men who originally composed Company A of the Fourth Vermont Regiment. The company was largely recruited during the four years that the regiment participated in the war but it was his belief that he was the last of the original members.
A life-long Republican, he maintained from the day he took the freeman's oath an active interest in public affairs. So long as his health would permit he acted as one of the election officials here in Bennington and could always be depended upon to do more than his share of the election day work.
The family survivors are one daughter, Mrs. Albert W. Wood of Pittsfield, Mass., and one son, Joseph F. Camp of Meriden, Conn. He also leaves one sister, Mrs. R.M. Harwood of this village.
The funeral will be held at the home of Edward A. Newman, 106 Dewey street, at 2:30 Tuesday afternoon. Rev. John L. Colo, pastor of the Methodist church will officiate and the burial will be at the village cemetery.
Bennington Banner, July 3, 1915